2 Thessalonians 2:13-17: Thank you and please!

It is good to thank God for each other in the church.

It is right to thank God for each other’s salvation. Our experience of conversion springs from God’s loving choice in eternity (13a), and we came into it, historically, in and through the gospel call (14a). We then believed ‘’in the truth’’ about Jesus (13b) and the Spirit set us apart to belong to God. This is God’s work from start to finish. It is all about His initiative. The ultimate goal of the gospel call is that we ‘’might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.’’ (14b; see 1:12). We are being made like Jesus even now, and ultimately we will be perfectly like Him (1 John 3:2). This process of being made like Christ has already begun, but until that day when we see Him ‘face to face’, our job is to stand fast and hold on to God’s Word. The primary we are changed to be more like Jesus is by reading the Bible and putting it into practice.

This short section, which starts with a ‘thank you’, ends with a ‘please’. Paul slips seamlessly from praise into prayer. The passage ends with a lovely, practical prayer:

‘’May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.’’ The Message.

Our inheritance includes ‘’eternal encouragement’’ (16). There will be no discouragement in heaven. Even now, God wants us to experience our inheritance amidst, often, less than encouraging circumstances. There is obviously a link between encouragement (literally meaning ‘to put courage in’) and strength. Today you can pray for someone’s encouragement, and seek to be the answer to your prayer! There are people around you who need ‘’fresh heart’’ and God can use you to give it to them.